Joseph Mallord William Turner

River Scene off Gravesend

c.1805–9

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 115 x 190 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D06468
Turner Bequest XCIX 63 a

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the sketchbook inverted. Finberg, identifying the subject, notes also ‘See picture of “Gravesend” described in a letter to Sir John Leicester of Dec., 1810’. Turner’s letter, of 12 December,1 lists marine subjects that the artist currently has available and also provides thumbnail sketches of them. ‘Gravesend’ is said to be five feet wide and to need ‘lining and a weeks work’. The sketch is recognisably of the same composition as seen here, with the same prominent sun low in the sky. If this leaf is folded to overlap 66 verso (D06466; Turner Bequest XCIX 62a), also of Gravesend, so that its right edge meets a vertical line drawn in pencil, an expanded version of the composition appears, with barges on the extreme right, that is even closer to the sketch in the letter. The picture is now untraced.2

David Blayney Brown
March 2009

1
John Gage ed., Collected Correspondence of J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 1980, p.44 reproduced.
2
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.127 no.206.

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